Algeria: at least 43 people died in the latest fires

Algeria: at least 43 people died in the latest fires

At least 43 people have died in the gigantic fires that have ravaged the forest and urban areas of northeastern Algeria in recent days, according to a new report provided Monday by the national gendarmerie. The gendarmerie, quoted by Algerian radio, also announced the arrest of 13 people suspected of being involved in these arson attacks which also left nearly 200 injured, many of them seriously burned.

The toll could rise

A previous report reported the death of 38 people in these fires which affected 14 governorates, in particular the region of El Tarf, in the far northeast, near the border with Tunisia. The command of the national gendarmerie also indicated that “the process of identifying the bodies is continuing”, which suggests that the toll could increase further. Thirteen people suspected of being involved in the recent fires have been arrested, according to the same source.

For its part, civil protection announced that in 24 hours (from Saturday to Sunday), 31 fires were extinguished in different regions of Algeria, after new fire starts. Every summer, northern Algeria is affected by forest fires but this phenomenon is accentuated from year to year under the effect of climate change which results in droughts and heat waves. Experts have also pointed to shortcomings in the fire-fighting system with a lack of water bombers and poor forest management.

On Saturday, an expert told AFP that about 10,000 hectares, or more than 10% of the area of ​​the El Kala National Park (PNEK) in northeastern Algeria, classified by Unesco as a reserve of biodiversity, had been destroyed by the recent fires. Denouncing “a nibbled forest” through the establishment of a “dense road network” and “new localities” in the middle of the park, the expert, former director of PNEK, Rafik Baba Ahmed, said he was “very pessimistic ” for its future and the maintenance of its status by Unesco.

Reference: www.europe1.fr

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